Shareholder Sean W. Martin and Associate Michael J. Petherick, of Carr Allison’s Chattanooga (TN) office, obtained dismissal for its architectural firm client in two professional negligence cases inside of a premises liability case.
Two different plaintiffs on two separate dates fell on a landing area outside of a newly constructed hotel in Middle Tennessee. Each plaintiff, represented by a different attorney, filed suit against the hotel owner for premises liability. In each case, the hotel owner asserted the comparative fault of the architectural firm who designed the hotel. The hotel’s theory was that they relied upon the expertise and knowledge of the architect to design the hotel in a manner that would not be dangerous to guests. Both plaintiffs amended their Complaint to add causes of action against the architects for professional negligence.
Motions for Summary Judgment were filed under the theory that, since the plaintiffs did not have privity in contract with the architectural firm, they could not assert a cause of action for professional negligence. Additionally, premises liability claims under Tennessee law are exclusive to the premises owner and cannot be extended to persons who have no ownership or control of the premises.
Dismissals were obtained in both cases on behalf of the architectural firm.